Sunday, November 19, 2017

A week flown by

It's been an emotionally very intensive week with several things going on on the refugee front in my life, and I don't want to go into detail about this.
I have done a bit of therapeutic sewing on a traditional quilt that I want to give as a present for Christmas, I have found two people who will be doing four bindings and tunnels for the 70,273 project. Some knitting, again more on the therapeutic side.
Too many things going on...
But I did manage to take a few photos throughout the week. On relaxing walks, or when walking to school.



Frozen spider web - another, still more complete one that I wanted to take
a picture of collapsed just as I was focussing to snap the shot...

We haven't seen the sun in days, colours are very dim
and the greyness is suffocating...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Working...

It's November, and this year the month is living up to my most unfavorable expectations.


But I have been sewing, quilting, planning, even though you would not assume from the frequency with which I have been presenting it on the blog.
I have quilted more pieces for The 70,273 Project and sent off some to be pieced.



I am working on the next challenge for the 12 by the Dozen Group and have posted a teaser on the blog.
I am working on a traditional bed spread which I want to give away as a present for Christmas, I am planning quilts that might be made for entering Quilt National, if I ever have the guts to do that.

And I am still involved with refugee things. I sent a letter to the editor in repsonse to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which was published and which has resulted, amongst other reactions, in the very unpleasant experience that a know right-wing radical took the trouble to find out my e-mail address and sent me a blasphemous mail about how stupid I am and that I should not invite all those stupid Africans to come here. Which I hadn't done in the letter, nor have I ever done it anywhere. All I want to achieve is that people who are here are being treated as human beings, and that Germany, and especially Bavaria stops waging a war against a few refugees by maintaining 'law and order'. I did receive positive responses, too, and even the author of the article I responded to wrote to me in a very positive manner. So overall the positive responses were more numerous than the negative ones.
I wonder where this country is coming too...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

texting and IQ - classes at Nadelwelt Karlsruhe

I have submitted a new class to teach at the Nadelwelt Karlsruhe in May next year, and have been accepted. So instead of selling fabrics at the stand I will be back to Nadelwelt as a teacher, May 4 through 6, 2018. Gillian Travis and I have been talking about how we will celebrate our birthdays, which happen to be on the same day and on that occasion, but we haven't decided yet what we are going to do.
The new class I will be teaching will be  a class in which I show my techniques when I am making my text messages quilts. Text is pretty popular right now, but a lot of people print on fabric whereas I have so far concentrated on stitching all the texts I am using. It will be an adventure!
The other class I will be teaching will be my class "IQ - from inspiration to quilt", which I will teach there for the last time. It has been a rather popular class, but last time I taught it I had the feeling that it needed to be re-vamped. So although I am not going to totally discontinue it, I will certainly change the schedule and concept and make it a different class, although with some of the same techniques. However, in Karlsruhe it will be the same still. So here's a last chance for gaining some IQ!
So I will not be selling my fabrics at a stand, either, but I will of course bring my fabrics to be bought in class, if students so wish.
And perhaps for the year after I might apply for an exhibition at Nadelwelt. It's been a long time since I had a solo show, and now that Maastricht has been cancelled, where I thought I had been lined up, and then a solo show in Rome also was cancelled... I think I need some more show-deadlines to push me a bit harder in terms of making quilts. But I might have decided to try to enter Quilt National next year. At least I have ideas for three quilts that would make up a decent 'body of work'. If I have enough time to get them done.
Last week I have been stitching text messages 14, which is in answer to a local challenge of the German Patchwork Guild on the theme of "(at) home".



Just a few more stitches, and then I have to figure out how to finish it. Probably won't be a three-layered quilt, but that hasn't been decided yet.

Monday, October 9, 2017

My Inner Ccritic...



I had submitted a small quilt for the SAQA Benefit Auction pretty earlier this year, long ago, in fact. And for the first time in several years I have not done any pre-advertising for the auction. Nor did I do my own ‘Dream Collection’ as I have done for several years in a row. I had not even had a chance to look at the different sections to find out which section my quilt would be in… But I received  a mail from Martha Sielman two days ago that my quilt had been sold. 

Piece for the SAQA Benefit Auction 2017
"Crossing the Red Line" - sold!

And not for the lowest auction price either. So that helped alleviate my bad conscience - which at some point prior to the beginning of the auction I had decided I would not have anyway.

About a week ago I had a small exchange with Jeanne Hewell-Chambers after quilting quilt #265 for The 70,273 Project, and I wasn’t too sure whether I really liked the pattern I had chosen. We talked about the inner critic and how you have to silence that part of your brain, and afterwards I realized that the pattern was indeed really pretty good. When you look at it, off the machine.

The 70,273 Project: Quilt #265, quilted, waiting for binding etc.
So not feeling bad about not sounding the trumpet for SAQA for once is in that same line. So much has been going on, I have been doing so many things, I might as well for once say ‘no, sorry, no time for that right now’. At least I sent in a quilt, it sold, and I will send in another one next year, too. And perhaps I will then pre-announce the auction again, too. But unfortunately I do have a very strong-voiced inner critic. I assume that is partly caused by the fact that my father, a philosopher, wrote books about achievement, performance, success, and that way such a frame of mind was vividly installed in my way of thinking. It's hard to step down from that, and it's hard to be a kind and caring observer of oneself. So when Margaret Cooter wrote about 'making time to do and make' only a few days ago I was truly touched inside. With all the things that have been going on during the past (almost) three years - since my involvement with German Refugee Politics began - there hasn't been enough of that in my life. Will it come back? I hope so. On Wednesday I am once again going to accompany one of the Senegalese students from my last year's class to the Central Foreigners Registry and Authority to try and get him a work permit. I am not expecting an easy ride (it hasn't been so far), but I have told myself once I succeed with his case, there will be more time for my own making and doing again. 
Yesterday I quilted another top for The 70,273 Project, this time it was #224. 

The 70,273 Project: Quilt #224,
quilted, waiting for binding etc.

The 70,273 Project: Quilt #224,detail

And I have started to stitch a small piece I am supposed to hand in by the end of the month. Kind of under the pressure of a deadline… 

text messages 14 in the making

But it’s been going pretty well yesterady and today, so maybe I will actually finish in time. How is that for relaxed and leisurely making and doing...? Perhaps I should take another trip to a Café Leisure soon.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Where have all the minutes gone?

It's been such a busy time since the election that I simply haven't had enough time to breathe and figure out what I could write about.
I have dyed the September selection for the fabric club, taught school, quilted for The 70,273 project, spent quite a bit of time trying to get a work permit for one of the Senegalese from last year's class after all, in a different job ...
Tomorrow I am going to Nuremberg and then on to Dürnau where I will be selling fabrics and exhibiting some quilts at a small patchwork fair. I hope next week will be a bit more on the quiet side. So I can start working on stuff that has deadlines.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Being part of The 70,273 project...

Some time at the beginning of the year I took my courage together and acted on something I had been thinking about for a while as I kept seeing posts on Sandy Snowden's blog about her involvement in The 70,273 Project initiated by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers. The topic of Nazi atrocities has been a constant in my life since I was about 12 or 13 years old, and I have never found it easy to be German. (That is most certainly also a major reason for my involvement with the refugees in Germany today - I had always asked myself how I would have behaved back then...)
So initially after reading about the project on Sandy's blog I had hesitations about getting in touch with Jeanne (and considered myself too busy, too), but early this year I finally did get in touch with her and wrote an article on the project for the German Patchwork Guild's magazine.

The turn-around of the numbers is my fault...
March edition of the German Patchwork Guild's
magazine, and the article on the 70,273 Project.

She asked me whether I wanted to be an ambassador for the project in Germany, and as I was just taking over the post of International Representative for the German Patchwork Guild, I agreed and have been involved in the project since. I have made blocks myself, received blocks from others which I am now assembling to be put together.

bookeeping of blocks, numbers, names of contributors...



I hope I will find some volunteer to do the piecing. I am willing to do longarm piecing, and have put the first complete top on the machine, which I received from a group in Kassel.


Another top is waiting in line, which Jeanne gave me when I was visiting her in August. Because my son and I included Jeanne on our trip when we were visiting friends. And we had a very good time with her and her lovely husband, "The Engineer". Thank you so much for hosting us, Jeanne and Andy!


I just fell in love with the location of Jeanne's house, right on a waterfall, and slept wonderfully in a bedroom that opens right onto the stream.


Jeanne set me to work on blocks, and showed me quilts that were already finished.




Being part of this project does something to you. I have been feeling that, although I wasn't quite clear about whether it was part of my "current state of mind anyway". A recent e-mail exchange with a woman another town in Germany who is also contributing blocks to the project, and her write-up about how the involvement in the project is affecting her, has made me realize that, however. Yes, it is partly due to my current state of mind, with the refugees and the political situation in Germany overall. But it is also due to this project.
Not only do I 'see' red x-s at unexpected moments, such as these cookie cutters at a sale in a store.


And I see them in order to have a chance encounter with Chantal from France, on the shuttle bus in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines. (See them on her name tag?)


Being part in this project gives me an even stronger awareness of injustice, human rights, unfairness, etc. That in itself doesn't necessarily make one a happier person. But certainly one who keeps on fighting against injustice for longer than one ever thought one could stand it...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Found Art in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines

I must admit, I kind of lied when I said 'back after four weeks of traveling', because I took off pretty much straight away again to go to the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in France. A long drive by car because of an interrupted train service with substitute bussind that I did not want to deal with, and then four days with many meetings, many impressions, many interesting quilts. This year I was definitely more impressed with the quality of exhibitions on display than last year. Hopefully the festival is on the way to consolidation after the turnover of management, which was not exactly easy two years ago. However, when I don't get around to posting something during a festival like that I figure it doesn't really make much sense posting a few days afterwards. I'd rather show some pictures of found art. Although I think probably by now I have photographed just about anything that could qualify as found art in Ste. Marie that can be found... and perhaps several times. I saw a car parked on the side of the road which had some interesting patterns of growth on the windshield and which I am pretty sure I photographed last year already, and I doubt whether it had been moved once since I last went by...





 

 






 



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Flag of the Free

One thing that always amazes me when I am in the US is the omnipresence of the American Flag. In Germany it had until recently not been very popular to be sporting the flag, and although it is slowly changing, especially in the context of sports events (i.e. soccer) people still don't fly the flag in front of their house. Add to that speaking with Kathy Loomis about what brought her to start working on her fantastic flag quilts that I got to see when visiting with her recently. And suddenly I began to notice variations of American flags as well. Not only the huge ones flying in front of official buildings and besides highway exits.

Percey Lam: Journey, HI (in Form, not Function)

sorry - did not take the maker's name...seen at Kentucky State Fair









And I didn't even take a picture of every variation that I saw. Perhaps I should have. Next time...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Returning home after 4 weeks

I have been away from home for four weeks, with the exception of a less-than-24-hrs stopover between coming back from the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and leaving for our trip to the USA .
I saw many quilts in Birmingham, and a few in the USA, but I myself have not done a whole lot of stitching in these weeks. I did knit several pairs of socks. 


And although I had taken a bit of hand-stitching, and I did do a little bit,


mostly it was a period of resting from stitching. Jeanne set me to work on a couple of blocks for the 70,273-project when I was at her house, and if our stay there had not been cut short due to the emergency in her family I might have made a few more in that evening we did not have. But I couldn't.

two blocks I made while chatting with Jeanne
and hoping my son would fall asleep...

My son is at an age right now where he has very little tolerance for Mom taking him tagging along to quilt shows. He was about two and a half years old when I took him to a show in my then function as a regional representative for the German Quilt Guild, and he walked into the display hall, stopped shortly after having gone in about five meters, took a thorough look around, and said to me, „Mom, we can go!“ And he was right about the quality of work we got to see there, I have to admit... but that's is a reason why I don't like to drag him through any of this if I can help it. So I did not go into a quilt show in Knoxville that had opened on the weekend we were there. Nor did I follow any of the quilt trails that I had found flyers for in visitors centers in several of the visitor centers. There were several!
I did talk quilt with Kathy, a little bit, and Debbie, who was not a quilter when we were colleagues in Augsburg twenty years ago but has since become one, took me to the one and only quilt shop I visited during the entire trip, Stitcher's Garden in Nashville.

"Stitchers Garden" - an overwhelming experience. More pictures here.

Jeanne of course talked to me about the 70,273-project, but it has really been a time of distance from quilting.

Looking at some of the finished quilts
for the 70,273-project


So this will be making a new start. I have had thoughts about new projects, I have taken a few notes. And I will get started on them as I find time.
However, the new school year is about to begin,  I am supposed to be teaching again – unless some major changes occurred while I was away and perhaps the new class will not get off the ground? We will see.
Last year's students from Senegal did not get their work permit, which has really upset me terribly and calls for further action in the realm of civil activism, protest, whatever, and I have to figure out how I will position myself to this. That is - they have not been given a permit, but they have also not received a notification that it has been turned down. This means they could not start on the beginning of September, which would have been the first day of school for them, and that means they will not be able to join in on the course any more because no late admittances are allowed. That is a very subtle and petty method of denying them access to education and training. Because they have not been rejected, they cannot protest or sue against it, but also cannot continue.
I kept pretty calm about this all while we were away – except when talking about it to somebody. The way a conversation about this usually would bring me onto the edge of tears shows me how deeply I am involved in that issue. And somehow it feels as if I can only put that to rest when a signifacant change in Bavarian politics has occurred. The fight is not over yet.
However, I will try not get as involved with the new year's students again. I don't have enough strength for that left. I will only be their German teacher.

Monday, August 28, 2017

America's produce

I love markets and vegetable stalls, and one of the pains of traveling is that I can't take advantage of all those wonderful food opportunities along the way as I don't have a kitchen to cook the stuff in that I get to see...